Australian Miners

Seven killed in South Africa gold mine collapse

By Eddie Haywood, 14 May 2018

The May 3 incident comes amid an overall rise in fatal mining accidents across the country in recent years.

Australia: Locked-out Glencore coal mine workers face new provocations

By Terry Cook, 26 February 2018

As the union isolates the Oaky North workers, the Fair Work Ombudsman is investigating a protest picket near the Queensland mine.

Australia: Glencore steps up provocations against locked-out miners

By Terry Cook, 20 October 2017

The giant company is seeking to force through an enterprise agreement that slashes pay and working conditions.

Australian unions isolate miners facing attacks on pay and conditions

By Terry Cook, 15 July 2017

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has restricted the Glencore workers to token stoppages.

Australian state Labor government agrees to subsidise giant coal mine

By Declan O’Malley and Mike Head, 13 June 2017

After weeks of posturing, the Queensland cabinet provided a lucrative royalties handout to Adani.

“Catastrophic failure” of regulators led to black lung among Australian miners

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 June 2017

Queensland authorities failed to look for, or properly identify, coal miners’ pneumoconiosis for more than 30 years.

Industrial court endorses sacking of Australian miners after union betrayal

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 January 2017

The ruling was one of a series of interventions by the Fair Work Commission into industrial disputes that underscore its role as an apparatus of the corporate elite.

Australia: Industrial tribunal backs the sacking of striking German Creek miners

By Terry Cook, 8 December 2016

A Fair Work Commission ruling, allowing Anglo American to dismiss workers involved in “protected” strike action, sets a dangerous precedent.

Australia: Mounting evidence of black lung cover-up

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 November 2016

Thousands of miners could be afflicted by the deadly disease as a result of the erosion of safety standards by the major companies, with government and union complicity.

Australia: Strike continues at Anglo American’s German Creek coal mine

By Terry Cook, 3 October 2016

The union continues to isolate a dispute by 140 mine workers at Anglo American’s German Creek coal mine even as the company moves to recruit strike-breakers.

BHP Billiton demands Australian coal miners accept three-year wage freeze

By Oscar Grenfell, 14 September 2016

The company’s move is part of a broader offensive against the jobs and working conditions of workers.

Decades-long cover-up of “black lung” among Australian miners

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 August 2016

Reports of cases pre-date the official rediscovery of the disease in Queensland last year.

Black lung disease reemerges in Australian coal mines

By Richard Phillips, 11 April 2016

Increased workloads, inadequate mine ventilation and low dust-testing standards have produced a sudden jump in the number of coal miners suffering from black lung.

Australian mining services workers reject 25 percent pay cut

By Declan O’Malley and Mike Head, 22 November 2014

Hastings Deering’s ultimatum points to an intensification of the assault against jobs and conditions in the mining industry.

Australian mining fatalities on the rise

By Terry Cook, 10 November 2014

Amid the collapse of the mining boom, safety is being further eroded in one of the country’s most dangerous industries.

Australian mining companies push for suppression of port workers’ dispute

By Joe Lopez, 10 June 2014

Maritime workers’ disputes in the Pilbara mining region are seen by corporate elites as test cases for powers to block industrial action.

Australia: Plunging coal prices herald new mine closures and job cuts

By Terry Cook, 5 May 2014

Over the past two years, coal producers have already slashed 12,000 jobs, including 8,000 in Queensland alone.

Australia: Two miners crushed to death in underground wall collapse

By Terry Cook, 29 April 2014

The two miners were killed when a catastrophic rock burst buried their continuous mining machine under tonnes of coal.

Australia: Mounting anger over coal mine fire health crisis

By Daniel Saul, 22 March 2014

The official response underscored the utter contempt for working class communities like Morwell and neighbouring towns.

Two miners killed in Australian copper mine

By Terry Cook, 13 December 2013

The tragic deaths of two miners in Tasmania this week brings to four the number of Australian mine fatalities in just three weeks.

Australia: Mining giant Peabody locks out workforce

By Terry Cook, 24 October 2013

The lock-out of Helensburgh miners is part of a broader offensive by employers, in collaboration with the unions, that has already led to wage-cutting deals at General Motors Holden and the Beenleigh meat works.

Australia: Glencore Xstrata shuts coal mine to scrap working conditions

By Terry Cook, 7 September 2013

The Australian Financial Review has identified the Collinsville dispute as a “landmark workplace struggle.”

Australian coal loader workers strike to defend conditions

By Terry Cook, 29 May 2013

The dispute comes amid a wider restructuring within the Australian coal industry, triggered by falling demand in Asia.

New Zealand mine disaster inquiry whitewashes government

By Tom Peters, 10 November 2012

The disaster was the outcome of the decades-long assault on the jobs, conditions and rights of workers aimed at boosting “international competitiveness.”

Australia: Bowen Basin coal miners resume strike action

By Richard Phillips, 24 May 2012

Miners at Bowen Basin pits in Queensland have walked out in dispute over a new enterprise agreement.

Australia: Coal companies provoke new miners’ walkouts in Queensland

By Richard Phillips, 31 March 2012

Bowen Basin coal miners struck on Tuesday following provocative new roster demands by the BHP-Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance.

Further evidence of lack of safety at New Zealand mine

By John Braddock, 1 July 2011

Families of miners killed in a methane explosion at the Pike River mine last November denounced successive New Zealand governments over appalling safety standards.

Growing anger over New Zealand mine deaths

By Tom Peters, 26 November 2010

One week after the initial explosion at the Pike River Coal Mine, mining experts, relatives and friends of the 29 dead miners have condemned the company’s unsafe practices and its failure to carry out a rescue operation.

New Zealand miners declared dead after another massive explosion

By Tom Peters, 24 November 2010

Twenty-nine coal miners, ranging in age from 17 to 62, have been declared dead following a second massive methane explosion this afternoon deep inside the Pike River Coal mine on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

A wave of mine disasters

By Mike Head, 31 May 2010

Yet another mining disaster, in which 17 miners died in a reported dynamite explosion in central China last Saturday, has highlighted the ongoing sacrifice of mine workers’ lives around the world for profit and increased output.

Australia: Labor government rejects inquiry into impact of mining on health

By Terry Cook, 30 April 2010

A television documentary on open cut coal mining in the Upper Hunter Valley in the Australian state of New South Wales has revealed deep public concern over the resultant health problems.

Coal mine blast in Indonesia kills at least 32

By Carol Divjak, 24 June 2009

A gas explosion at a coal mine in the Sawahlunto district of West Sumatra on June 16 killed at least 32 people. The tragedy is the outcome of the appalling safety standards that prevail in much of the Indonesian mining industry.

Social reality in an Australian mining town

By Joe Lopez, 11 September 2008

One of the great myths of the Australian mining boom has been that prosperity would “trickle down” from the mining companies to the rest of society, starting with the workers who have flocked to the mines, mostly in Western Australia, hoping to secure big pay packets.

Global downturn begins to puncture Australian mining boom

By Mike Head, 3 September 2008

Since July, definite signs have emerged that Australia’s mining boom, a major factor in the country’s much touted economic growth during the past decade, has started to crumble under the weight of the world economic slowdown. Mineral export prices have begun to turn. The London Metal Exchange Index of six base metals, including copper, zinc and nickel, fell more than 20 percent from a peak of 4,400 in March to 3,400 in early August.

Australian miners strike to defend entitlements

By Terry Cook, 13 August 1999

About 20,000 coal miners walked out on a 24-hour national strike from midnight last night, halting production at 150 mines. Talks between union officials and federal government ministers in Canberra yesterday had not produced any solution for the 125 miners sacked from the bankrupt Oakdale mine, south-west of Sydney, last month. The sacked workers are owed more than $6.3 million in entitlements, including redundancy benefits and accrued leave payments.

Australia:

Two accidents highlight worsening coal mine safety

By Noel Holt, 22 July 1999

Two incidents have again focused attention on the deadly conditions in the mining industry in New South Wales, one of Australia's largest coal producing states. Late on Tuesday evening, 50-year-old Kevin Downes was crushed when a wall collapsed at the United Collieries mine at Warkworth, near Singleton, in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Australia: Sacked Oakdale miners work without pay to recover entitlements

By Terry Cook, 13 July 1999

About 150 coal miners from the Oakdale colliery, near Sydney, Australia, are spending over $5,000 a day and working without pay in an attempt to recoup some of the $6.3 million in entitlements and redundancy money owed to them when the mine closed at the beginning of last month.

Sacked Australian miners given no help in Canberra

By Steve Dean, 30 June 1999

Coal miners sacked at Oakdale, near Sydney, over three weeks ago are still no closer to receiving any redundancy or entitlement money, despite staging a protest in the national capital, Canberra, on June 24. The 150 miners lost their jobs when the mine was closed due to low world coal prices and a $34 million debt. They are owed $6.3 million in accrued long service, holiday pay, sick leave, severance and redundancy payments.

Miners denounce sacking with no entitlements

By Steve Dean, 16 June 1999

In what is becoming a more common practice in Australia, 150 miners at the Oakdale Colliery, 80 kilometres southwest of Sydney, were told last week, just after finishing night shift, that their mine would close.

Mass arrests at Australian mine

Union rules out national strike

By our correspondent, 27 February 1999

Arrests are continuing on the picket line at the Gordonstone coal mine near Emerald, in central Queensland. Sixty more workers were detained on Tuesday bringing the total arrested to over 146 in two weeks.

Striking Australian coal miners sacked

By Barry Jobson and Terry Cook, 28 January 1999

Coal Operations Australia sacked the entire 42-member workforce from its Chain Valley Bay underground coal mine near Newcastle, New South Wales last week. The miners, who have been on strike for nine weeks against the company's attempts to cut wages and slash conditions, were informed that the mine would close on February 15, leaving only eight people from middle management to carry out care and maintenance.

Australian miners union calls strike against coal price cuts

By Terry Cook, 18 December 1998

Another coal mine closes in Australia

By Peter Stavropoulos, 26 August 1998

Another death in an Australian coal pit

Hundreds turn out for miner's funeral

By Terry Cook, 25 July 1998

The mining town of Cessnock all but came to a standstill as up to 2,000 attended the funeral of a coal miner who was crushed to death on July 17.

Inquiry covers up causes of Australian mine disaster

By Terry Cook, 16 July 1998

Eighteen months after four mineworkers were killed at the Gretley mine, near the Australian industrial city of Newcastle, the judicial inquiry into the disaster has finally brought down its findings.

Another mine death in Australia

By Terry Cook, 9 July 1998

In the early hours of July 6 another name was added to the long list of deaths in Australia's mining industry.

Closure threatened in mining disaster town of Moura

Australian coal union imposes sweeping job cuts

By Terry Cook, 18 June 1998

The Australian coal miners union has set another precedent for the wholesale destruction of jobs, wages and conditions in an agreement reached this month with mining giant BHP at the central Queensland town of Moura, the site of a notorious gas explosion in 1994.

Thousands of jobs axed in Australian coal mines

Unions allow offensive to proceed

By Terry Cook, 2 May 1998

Without any opposition by the unions, coal companies operating in Australia are eliminating thousands of jobs as the Asian economic meltdown undermines demand for coal and prices plunge on the world market.